Year Eight: What Brought Us Here?

Year Eight: What Brought Us Here?

Before beginning our eighth school year at the Academy for Global Citizenship this morning, our faculty and staff gathered for a full week of professional development. As part of our larger vision to be a laboratory of innovation in education, the fabric of our work is perpetually analyzed and revised to reflect best practice and the changing needs of our community, so this is a week of collaborative work: digging into our curriculum, policies, procedures. This is also a week of reflection and reconnection as we reconvene after summer break, a flurry of tanned arms hugging and sharing summer travel photos.

At AGC, every day — be it a day of professional development or a day of learning in the classroom with our students — begins with a community circle, a ritual that helps us start the day with a focused, collaborative attitude. Monday, before diving into a collaborative editing session with our new Global Citizenship Curricular Continuum, we took a moment to share what brought us to this school and this approach to learning, as well as what keeps us here. While we were all drawn by the unique mission, vision, and culture at AGC, each path to our school shines a new light on the ecosystem of our school and its place in the terrain of education.

AGC is a special place. Our culture, curriculum and operations reflect a shared commitment to reimagining education every day, through thoughtful observation, innovation and collaboration. At AGC, educators found a community that reflected their personal beliefs and philosophy of education. “I read the mission and thought “oh my god, this is awesome, this is what I do in my time off!”, says Middle School Science Teacher Ms. Ortega. Says Ms. Moore, “I fell in love with the school and thought, oh my gosh! This is the school I’ve been looking for! AGC aligns so well with what I believe education should be.”

Many of our educators recall a conversation with Founding Principal Anne Gillespie that opened their eyes to the unique nature of our community. Many also applied to work at AGC after watching one of Founder Sarah Elizabeth Ippel’s TEDx talks or hearing her speak at a conference. Principal Gillespie herself was still considering a career in medicine when she was first introduced to the International Baccalaureate framework, the structure on which AGC’s holistic curriculum was built. “I was flabbergasted and angry about the reality of education for my students. I was going to be a doctor, but I thought ‘I have to do something about this, there is no reason why every student in Chicago shouldn’t have access to this kind of education.”

Many of us were also drawn in by the passion and excitement of a peer.  Ms. Salas remembers the call she got from friend Ms. Mares, telling her about this amazing new school in their community and urging her to apply for a teaching position. Ms. Salas, in turn, shared her excitement with Ms. Jetton, who is now a Middle School science teacher. New Middle School math teacher Ms. Radja was inspired to apply after watching the positive transformation of friend Mr. Thomson during his first year at AGC.

At AGC, we have also found a community of lifelong learners that share an intense drive to innovate and collaborate to achieve audacious goals. “I am surrounded by nerds in the best possible way.” says Ms. Moore. “What brought me here was what we do every day, but what keeps me here is all of my colleagues,” says Ms. Fyffe. ” For the first time in my life,” says Ms. Gomez, I was in the right place at the right time.”

If you want to join a community of nerds who believe the impossible is possible, we are always looking for passionate educators to join our team. View positions online at

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